The City of Rochester’s Public Works Department operates a fleet of snow plows that works to clear over 500 miles of roads, 9 miles of alleys, 544 cul-de-sacs, 40 miles of sidewalks and bike paths within the city limits of Rochester. This is no easy task and is a balance of safety, economics, timing and expectations. Effective snow removal creates safer roads for the traveling public and provides access for emergency vehicles during the winter snow and ice season.
- What to Expect for Clearing City Streets
- Parking in the Central Business District (CBD) During a Snow Event
- Parking on City Streets in Winter
- Concerns Related to City Snow Plows
The priority for plowing City streets is as follows: main roads, the central business district, hills, bridges, bus routes and around schools. Once those areas are clear resources will be directed to other streets. While main roads may be taken to bare pavement, this is neither feasible nor necessary on lower volume and residential streets.
The amount of time it takes to clear streets is dependent upon the amount of snow we receive:
- Small snow events (less than 2" of snow) are typically treated in less than 8 hours by a fleet of 21 plow trucks, 2-3 pick-up trucks, and two sidewalk machines.
- Snow events of 2-4" are typically treated in approximately 8 hours by a fleet of 28 plow trucks, 4 graders, 5 loaders, 3 one-ton trucks to clear cul-de-sacs, 2-3 pick-up trucks, and 2 sidewalk machines.
- Large snow events (more than 4") take approximately 3 days to be completely cleaned up. Roads will be cleared in the first 12 hours. Snow will be hauled out of the Central Business District overnight on day 2. Street widening and miscellaneous clean-up will happen on the 3rd day after the snowfall.
Use of salt and sand on City streets
The excessive use of salt has major environmental impacts. Not only can salt harm grass and other landscaping, stormwater runoff will carry deicing salts to nearby waterways where it will be a pollutant. It only takes one tablespoon of salt to permanently contaminate 5 gallons of water. Thus, salt is used sparingly on main roads and at main intersections to allow safe passage. The effectiveness of salt when the pavement surface temperature is below 15⁰F is dramatically reduced. The use of a salt-sand mixture also has many implications associated with its use. Any salt-sand mix that gets placed on streets has to get swept up by City crews each spring. This requires a lot of manpower, equipment and results in real costs. Salt-sand mix is typically used in low temperatures or where traction is needed such as hills, sharp curves and intersections.
Why does the city pre-treat roads with a salt-brine solution? Click here for a video on why this pre-treatment is an effective tool. (Note: The City of Rochester only uses liquid brine before a storm, not during or after a storm. Historically we have found it to create more icy spots rather than melting ice.)
Parking in the Central Business District During a Snow Event
During designated snow events street parking in the CBD will be restricted to facilitate the plowing and removal of snow. All parking restrictions will be posted on impacted meters and drivers are responsible for adhering to the restrictions.
- The snow plow has not cleared the street after a storm
Please contact the Street Maintenance Division. Click here for contact information.
- City plow has damaged the boulevard or mailbox
Please contact the Street Maintenance Division if a snow plow has damaged your mailbox or the boulevard adjacent to your property. Crews will be sent out to repair mailbox damage following the clearing of the streets. Boulevards will be repaired in the spring. Taking photos of the damage and storing them for your records can be beneficial to document any damages. Click here for contact information.